* The Michael Del Zotto move to Philly is a win-win situation. The Flyers get the still-gifted, still-young defenseman on the cheap and, -- who knows? -- he still may find the game that almost won him a Calder Trophy.

* For Mister Del Z that is at least one team out of thirty figures that Once-Magnificent-Mike still can turn his career around and, of course, help boost the Flyers offense.

* Then again, only Michael knows whether his head is screwed on straight enough to enable the consistency and required toughness to disappear in New York and Nashville. Me? I like the move all-round.

* More than a few smarties out there are liking Garth Snow's rebuild job in Nassau a whole lot. Big question in Uniondale surrounds the young studs on  the blue line and whether the likes of Matt Donovan, Griffin Reinhart and Calvin de Haan have the goods to stick -- and excel -- in The Show.

* Has Daniel Alfredsson become the Martin Brodeur of forwards?

* As in not smart to figure that enough, baby, is enough. 

* I'm guessing that Brodeur's strategy -- now that he appears to have run out of suitable suitors -- is to train-train-train until Chrismas and hope some desperate-for-a-goalie comes calling. Hey, what's the rush; Marty has been around long enough to know that the real season doesn't begin until January.

* It's looking as if Paul (Never Stops Thinking) Stewart is fast becoming a better hockey columnist than he was a referee.

* On the other hand, Stewie brought a precious item to the rink every night; color, me-lads, color.

* Or, to put another realistic way that surely miffed-off the high command; fans would be talking more about Paul's officiating after a game than they were about the players.

* In case you're interested, my pick for the most underrated zebras of all-time were John Ashley and Eddie Powers.

* My pick for a huge breakout year is Seth Jones. Wisely, the ex-Portland Winterhawk is beefing up his streamline fuselage.

* If there's one area in which Anze Kopitar gets the least credit is that he's done more to put Slovenia on the map than the little country's Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Secretary of Treasury and Chief Cook and Bottle-Washer, put together.

* Best Toothless Smile Award goes to Kings captain Dustin (Believe It Or Not, I'm From Ithaca And Ithaca Is In New York) Brown.

* Don't look now but Drew Doughty already has won the Norris Trophy for next year.

* Sorry, but I still can't figure what happened to Cam Ward since his Cup year. Can you?

* Speaking of declines and falls, might as well throw in Vincent Lecavalier while we're at it.

* Why does sunny Phoenix's hockey team always seem to have a black cloud following it around?